Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control quarantines dogs after outbreak

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control has quarantined all of its dogs after an outbreak of a contagious virus that has been found in other shelters in Florida.

While these dogs wait to be adopted and brought into a loving home, they are now being isolated and kept in their kennels at Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control as the shelter deals with an outbreak of a highly contagious virus.

“Since this is highly transmissible from dog to dog, we make sure that our dogs do not interact with each other,” said Jan Steele of Animal Control.

Pneumovirus, a relatively new respiratory virus in dogs, was first reported to ACC a few weeks ago during routine testing.

“Because it’s new and we don’t have a vaccine right now, dogs just don’t have good immunity,” Dr. Sara Chapman said.

Most symptoms are mild, including watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and coughing, but more severe cases can lead to pneumonia. And recently, more dogs have tested positive at the shelter.

“Over the past few weeks it has started to increase and our positivity rate is now around 17% to 18%. It only becomes critical when it goes above 30%,” Steele said.

So now the ACC has stopped all nose-to-nose contact, quarantining the dogs except for several walks a day.

Individual leashes are now attached to each kennel and more washing stations have been installed to facilitate deep cleaning.

A playground is usually filled with around five to six dogs, a place where they can stretch their legs, get some exercise, and be a dog. But now, to help stop the spread of the virus, only one dog is allowed here at a time.”

“From when there might have been an exposure to when you’re going to see clinical signs, it’s going to be less than seven days,” Chapman said.

The ACC is looking for more foster families, increasing the number of adoptions and asking its rescue partners to help get healthy adoptable dogs out of the building so they don’t get infected.

But they must be quarantined for at least two weeks as a precaution.

Benjamin M. Yerger